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Capri, Amalfi Coast, Lake Como - 25th Anniversary Trip

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Jul 3rd, 2016, 02:57 PM
  #1
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Capri, Amalfi Coast, Lake Como - 25th Anniversary Trip

We are currently planning a 25th wedding anniversary trip to Capri/Amalfi Coast + Lake Como for May 27th thru June 7th, 2017.

Our travel preferences are as follows:

1. "Quintessential small village Italy" with spectacular sunset views and regional location.
2. On a scale of 1-5, seeking a solid 4+ full hotel or B&B offering quiet/privacy, rooms with perfect views of surrounding scenery, modern/updated facilities, superior service attitude, and on-site amenities (infinity pool, spa, fitness).
3. We believe there is nothing worse than "Overpaying for touristy, loud, outdated lodging and/or poor service!"
4. We plan to hike, swim (only pool and/or ocean), lounge and read books @ pool or beach, bike, leisurely stroll village streets/shops, eat great food, wine, and coffee, and otherwise people-watch from small sidewalk cafe.

We are seeking feedback on our questions below:

1. Capri vs Ravello as regional base - which is better? Are there other options we should consider? We prefer to stay at a single hotel in this region - a 6 night stay at either Capri's La Scalinatella Hotel or Ravello's Hotel Belmond Caruso.

2. Best village as base for Lake Como - Bellagio vs Como vs Maneggio vs Tremezzo vs Cernobbio? We prefer to stay at a single hotel in the Lake Como region - a 6 night stay in Bellagio's Borgo La Terrazze or Hotel Belvedere Bellagio.

We are also considering the following Lake Como hotel and B&B properties and welcome everyone's feedback on these properties. Are there other lodgings we should consider?

- Hotel Belvedere Bellagio
- Residence La Limonera (Bellagio)
- Splendor Luxury Penthouse (Bellagio)
- Grand Hotel Villa Serbelloni (Bellagio)
- Hotel Il Perlo (Bellagio)
- Borgo La Terrazze (Bellagio)
- Villa d'Este (Cernobbio)
- Hotel Grand Tremezzo (Tremezzo)

Thank you, in advance, for your insight and guidance!

Best Regards,
DMiclat
Washington DC
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Jul 3rd, 2016, 03:09 PM
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Capri vs. Ravello - I love Ravello but the problem with making it your base is that it is so isolated. I would rather stay in the town of Amalfi down the mountain from Ravello. You can easily visit Ravello from there and it is much easier to get to the other towns along the coast. My first choice would be Positano. Check out the Villa Gabrisa.
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Jul 3rd, 2016, 05:22 PM
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None of the places you mention are "quintessential small village Italy." These are all tourist destinations.

You only mention hotels and not sightseeing, so I'm not sure the location makes much difference to you. But if you intend to do any sightseeing, you should mention what you want to see/do because that would likely influence recommendations. As letsgeaux mentioned, Ravello is a bit removed.

Your hotel list for Lake Como reflects an enormous range of rates and amenities from cheaper apartments to the most expensive hotel on the lake, so it's just about impossible to know exactly what you're looking for. Based on your stated choices in Ravello and on Capri, it appears you really want 5* luxury, but neither of your 'finalists' for Bellagio are in that category. FYI, you won't get "spectacular sunset views" from a hotel on the western shore of the lake.
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Jul 3rd, 2016, 10:27 PM
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Villa Serbelloni comes closest to what you seem to be asking for; however, do you want the hotel service or would you prefer an apartment? If apt, La Limonera in Bellagio is a lovely place to stay right in town, on the upper level of town.

FYI Villa Serbelloni also has self-catering apartments behind the hotel; you have access to hotel pools etc. but they are behind the hotel and as mentioned are self catering.

We stayed in Ravello for 6 nights for a big anniversary but loved the b&b we stayed in, Casa di Vania. Views! breakfast on the terrace; and artistic suite. 5' walk to town.

However, for our last two nights we stayed at La Sirenuse in Positano for a splurge; if you want the deluxe treatment and prices that's where I'd go on the AC.

Above posted mentioned Amalfi, where we stayed on a previous trip; it is definitely more accessible for touring the area; check out Luna Convento, and some people here have mentioned Santa Caterina as well.
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Jul 4th, 2016, 02:40 AM
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Stay in Amalfi.
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Jul 4th, 2016, 03:15 AM
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Two splurges on the Amalfi Coast, Le Sirenuse in Positano and Monastero Santa Rosa in Conca dei Marini. Both are gorgeous, wonderful hotels to celebrate your milestone.
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Jul 4th, 2016, 06:41 AM
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As Jean notes, without knowing your accommodations budget, it's difficult to give a recommendation if one is going to recommend a property other than the ones you've listed.
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Jul 4th, 2016, 07:03 AM
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Good morning all

All very good points. We are from Washington DC, so our view of small quintessential Italian village probably applies to many areas - tourist destination or not - on the Amalfi Coast/Capri/Lake Como.

Our activities in both regions will be as follows:

- Hiking routes offering excellent views of the surrounding landscape
- Lounging/swimming at the hotel pool
- Having morning coffee and evening gelato at small, outdoor cafe with perfect views of sunrise and sunset.
- A little biking or scooter activity.
- Some visiting of ancient ruins (on Capri/Amalfi Coast, possibly on Lake Como).
- Evening walks/window shopping the local artisans near hotel.

In Capri/Amalfi Coast - we prefer the luxury 4*+ experience (hence the La Scalinatella, Hotel Belmond Caruso, Santa Rosa, Santa Caterina targets).

In Lake Como - we are okay with 3*+ lodging (seriously considering Borgo Le Terrazze Hotel & Residences on the southern edge of Bellagio.

Does that help provide better insight into our goals?

Thank you!
DMiclat
Washington DC
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Jul 4th, 2016, 07:05 AM
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When reading your post, Villa Serbelloni came to mind. Prettier section of the lake than Villa d' Este.
For Capri look at La Minerva, a boutique property with the most personalized service we have experienced anywhere! Family owned. You will be well taken care of and dining reservations at any restaurant you want will be arranged, never a problem getting one.
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Jul 4th, 2016, 08:36 AM
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>>Does that help provide better insight into our goals?<<

Not for me, because you still didn't give an accommodations budget. ("3*+" is subjective and not a budget.)

But I'll bow out. I'm sure others can help.
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Jul 4th, 2016, 09:16 AM
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Le Sirenuse will get you the views you want for breakfast (gorgeous, huge breakfast buffet with my husband's favorite coffee anywhere). The pool is nice but the infinity pool at Monastero is prettier. Only 3 rooms at MSR have a balcony. The champagne and oyster bar and outdoor bar at Le Sirenuse are incredible, again with a great view. They also have a bar next door for evening cocktails (Franco's bar). Their pistachio gelato at Le Sirenuse is heaven.

At Le Sirenuse, you would not be far from the start of the 1700 steps to Nocelle ( go early before the sun is really up to avoid the heat), from there you can take the Path of the Gods to Bomerano.

If you are in Positano, look for the little place where they make shoes on the spot. I love my sandels from there!

At MSR, they do have a shuttle to take you into Amalfi.
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Jul 4th, 2016, 09:27 AM
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I don't think there is a budget. That's OK, because it's an 'occasion' trip, but apparently the choices are ones only the OP can make.

dmiclat, just FYI, it will take most of a day to travel from Capri/AC to mid-Lake Como. "Visiting ancient ruins" but no Pompeii??
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Jul 4th, 2016, 11:12 AM
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Thank you everyone! Below are some additional comments, clarifications, and questions.

Annw - Thank you for the guidance re La Limonera in Bellagio. We are open to an apartment in Lake Como and La Limonera is a prime candidate. We are also considering Borgo La Terrazze in Bellagio. Any thoughts on Borgo as a choice for apartment or hotel in Lake Como (again - we are open to a 3*+ hotel in Lake Como?

Jean - Not sure we will visit Pompeii, Vesuvius, or even Naples on this trip. Our goal is to simply "unwind and melt into the fabric of daily life while watching the world pass by." We are sure to visit a few historic churches, etc...however, we are not interested in devoting an entire day trip for the primary purpose of visiting a ruin like Pompeii or Herculaneum. Of course, that could change between now and next May.

Vincenzo - In regards to budget, we equate 3* hotel to roughly 125E-150E per room per night. For a 4*, we are estimating between 200E-250E per room per night. What is most important to us is the quality of room, facilities, and service attitude that we receive for our money. Everything is relative.

HappyTrvlr & Denisea - MSR is an beautiful property intriguing choice for the 6 nights in Amalfi. How much of an effort to get to Path of Gods or visit Amalfi, Ravello, Positano, Sorrento from MSR? Also, do you have any thoughts re pros and cons of using Capri as a base for visiting Amalfi Coast or La Minerva and La Scalinatella on as solid 4*+ properties on Capri?
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Jul 4th, 2016, 11:58 AM
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Good afternoon All

A correction re: 3* and 4* lodging budget:

3* = 250E - 350E
4* = 350E - 450E
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Jul 4th, 2016, 01:26 PM
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We have been to La Minerva on Capri two years in a row and are planning to return again next year. We love it. Last year we stayed three nights, this year we stayed four nights—both years in late May. If you are looking to unwind I highly recommend staying a minimum of three nights on Capri. There is a lot to do and see—hiking, views, shopping, good food, relaxing. My husband loves it because there are (almost) no cars. You can walk, take a bus or a taxi to get anywhere. Fifteen years ago I stayed in and apartment in Conca dei Marini. We drove all around seeing the sights...but it was not relaxing. Capri would not be a "base" from which to sight see the Amalfi Coast...it would be a base to see Capri and Anacapri.

I just looked up La Scalinatella Hotel...it is just down the way from La Minerva—an excellent location, lovely views and off the beaten track from the tourist epi-center.
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Jul 4th, 2016, 02:31 PM
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cathleenmarie - Thank you for the first-hand insight on Capri. I think you are right re: using Capri for a base to see the Amalfi Coast. How many nights do you recommend on Capri for a first time visit?
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Jul 4th, 2016, 03:45 PM
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I would not use Capri as a "base" for the Amalfi Coast. It would be too much back and forth on the ferries—a total waste of precious time. I would stay on Capri the whole time and skip the Amalfi Coast. If you go to the La Minerva website, click on Concierge and then Exploring the Island. There are many recommendations. On top of that the brothers who run the hotel—Luigi, Antonino and Marco—can help you craft an itin (as I am sure any other hotel would help you do). We usually do a nice walk one day (Villa Jovis or Lysis, or Punta Canone), a boat around the island and visit to a beach club (Fontelina). This year we went to Il Riccio for lunch which was a highlight. Luigi says that the Sentiero dei Fortini is the most gorgeous walk in all of Southern Italy. We were unable to do it because we were traveling with our parents (in their late 70s/ 80s). I think in the height of summer it is too hot to do the walk but in May might work.

You could hire a fancier boat to bring you around the island and to the mainland one day, maybe for lunch? I wouldn't but you could see Positano this way.

We would stay a minimum of three nights...four would be ideal if you could swing it.
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Jul 4th, 2016, 03:46 PM
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Capri is wonderful - but I'm not sure it will be convenient to seeing the rest of the Amalfi Coast.
On my first trip to AC, we stayed in Priano - very centrally located - and found it very easy to navigate up and down the Coast from the area. Hotel Tramonto d'Oro is a great hotel - views are excellent, great service, terrific property.

You asked about Borgo la Terraze. We are booked there for our upcoming September trip - so I can't review it, but keep in mind it is not in Bellagio "proper". You have to drive to town or take the shuttle that runs 5 or 6 times per day on a schedule. The views look amazing.
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Jul 4th, 2016, 05:21 PM
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Good evening Cathleenmarie and Ladylyn -

Thank you for the wonderful feedback and guidance! We are currently toying with the idea of adding the AC as a second stop in our itinerary - ONLY IF we there are sufficient # of nights for our desired activities on the AC within a total 12 night holiday. If not, we would prefer to skip the AC on this trip and reduce the overall trip duration (if 8 nights on Lake Como is overkill).

If both of you could indulge us with a few more of your insights, we would be grateful if you could please review our goals for the AC and Lake Como and provide any recs.

Capri - 4 nights @ Hotel La Scalinatella or La Minerva.

Amalfi Coast
Our desired activities include photography, "coffee sunrises", sunset swim", hiking "Path of the Gods", visiting villages of the Amalfi Coast, window shopping for local products (silk, sandals, pottery), and day trip to Pompeii, Herculaneum, and possibly Vesuvius via rental/private car.

- How many nights are ideal for our first visit to the Amalfi Coast?
- What is the best village for our desired activities?
- What are your 4*+ lodging recs for that village?
- Which AC villages do you consider "a must visit?"
- What is the best (most time efficient, reliable, and least aggravating) mode of travel from recommended lodging to visit the other villages on AC?

Take Trenitalia speed train from Naples to Milan/Lake Como. Rental car possibly in Milan for trip to Lake Como.

Lake Como
Our desired activities include photography, "coffee sunrises", "sunset swim", hiking, visiting 3-4 villages of Lake Como, and window shopping for local products (e.g. pottery).

We prefer the village of Bellagio as we think it allows us to "reverse commute" (i.e. we would visit other lake villages during the day and return to Bellagio at end of day when most of the crowds have departed).

- How many nights are ideal for our first visit to Lake Como?
- Which shoreline is best to view sunrise over Lake Como?
- Which shoreline is best to view sunset over Lake Como?
- Which village is best suited for our desired activities?
- What are your 3* lodging recs for that village?
- Which lake villages do you consider "a must visit?"

Ladylyn - we certainly look forward to your trip report re: Lake Como and Borgo Le Terrazze. The views and photos of the property are impressive - and for quite a reasonable price.

Again, thank you for all of your earlier guidance and we look forward to receiving your responses.

Have a great evening!

Best Regards,
DMiclat
Washington DC
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Jul 4th, 2016, 06:00 PM
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I think that Capri is a compact Amalfi Coast—without the driving. There is beauty, there is shopping, there is history, there is R&R.

I have been to Pompeii twice. You should go once. It is very hot. I cannot believe I am going to write this—it is just OK. Maybe something that you have to check off the list.

I would go to Capri any day over the AC...but I am sure there are strong and valid arguments for the AC.

I have never been to Lake Como...so have no opinions there.
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